By Martin Banks - 15th July 2009
Suspended Tory MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has angrily hit back at allegations that he acted "disloyally" in standing as an independent vice president for parliament.
The veteran MEP had the Tory party whip withdrawn on Tuesday when he defied party orders by standing against its official candidate for the post, Polish deputy Michael Kaminski.
Kaminski was defeated but later given the job of leader of the new European Conservative and Reformist group (ECR).
On Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with this website, McMillan-Scott spelled out his reasons for standing, saying Kaminski was "totally unfit" for both the post of vice president and that of group leader.
He also said he "hopes and expects" the whip to be returned.
"After this week, parliament does not reconvene until mid-September so there is plenty of time to sort this out," he said.
He said the "only" reason he stood for the vice presidency was to stop Kaminski being elected
He said the Pole had been a member of the National Revival party in Poland for three years until 1991, a party he describes as "fascist and homophobic."
McMillan-Scott went on to say that the day after the group's inaugural meeting on 24 June, he discovered that a Wikipedia entry "detailing Kaminski's membership of the National Revival party had been removed."
The Briton said Kaminski "was widely known to have used anti-Semitic language" in the past.
McMillan-Scott said he had "happily" agreed to join the ECR group but had done so before it was disclosed that one of its new partners would be Poland's law and justice party to which Kaminski belongs.
He said, "Given his background, he is clearly unsuitable for either post and that is the only reason I stood. If another candidate had been chosen I would not have stood. It is as simple as that. It was not done to antagonise anyone."
He added, "Having the whip withdrawn means I am no longer in the Tory group in parliament and am now technically an independent Tory. But I remain a Conservative party member and am very proud to be so.
"I have been a loyal Tory for 40 years and was group leader here for four years so I know what all this means. My hope is that it can be resolved quickly."
"I understand how people feel and the reaction to my decision to stand is, to some extent, understandable but I do not believe any great damage has been done.
"I think it is safe to say I have been an efficient and popular vice president and it could be that some people simply did not understand how things work in this parliament."
He said he was "on good terms" with fellow Tory MEP Tim Kirkhope, who withdrew the party whip on Tuesday. "I think Timothy may have been a bit embarrassed because last year he told me that there was no way the Tory group would pull out of the EPP."
He said the agreement under which Kaminski would be nominated for a vice president post and Kirkhope would be the nominee for the ERC leadership, "amounted to no more than a stitch up."
He also scotched suggestions that he might rejoin the EPP, saying, "Although I hope to work with them, I have no intention of doing that. My hope is that the whip will be restored very soon."
Kaminski reportedly denied the allegations of anti-Semitism, saying that while he had been a member of the National Revival party, the party had radically changed and no longer held such extreme views.
He said that if McMillan-Scott wanted to say such things in public, that was up to him.